COVID-19 Headlines Drive Options Players to ZM, CCL

The coronavirus crisis has effected CCL and ZM in very different ways

by Lillian Currens

Published on Mar 30, 2020 at 4:01 PM
Updated on Jun 24, 2020 at 10:16 AM

The 20 stocks listed in the table below have attracted the highest weekly options volume during the past 10 trading days, with data courtesy of Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White. Stocks highlighted in yellow are new to the list. Two names that stick out are Zoom Video Communications Inc (NASDAQ:ZM) and Carnival Corp (NYSE:CCL). The unfolding coronavirus pandemic has thrust the video chat platform and the cruise concern into the spotlight recently, and the effects on the two couldn't be more different. Below, we'll take a closer look at the options activity surrounding each stock, and the latest on what's moving ZM and CCL. 

Most Active options march 30

Starting with Zoom, a glance at the chart above shows that 186,334 weekly call options have been exchanged in the past 10 days, compared to 88,593 puts. Most active today is the weekly 4/3 170-strike call, followed by the 140-strike put from the same series, with positions being opened at both. Taking a step back, the April 60 put is home to the top front-month open interest position.

Zoom has been a Wall Street darling lately, as more and more people working from home turn to the video conference platform. The equity has been a huge outperformer on the charts, tacking on 127.8% this year. And while this surge has attracted some analyst attention, there's still plenty of room for upgrades among the brokerage bunch. Just seven in coverage call ZM a "buy" or better, while 11 say "hold" or worse. Plus, the consensus 12-month price target of $108.75 is a 29.8% discount to current levels. Today, ZM is down 1.1% at $149.70.

Turning the focus towards CCL, it's no secret the cruise sector is getting hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis, and options players have responded in turn, with 208,793 weekly put options and 129,743 weekly call options traded during the past 10 days. Today, the weekly 4/3 15-strike call is the most popular, followed by the weekly 4/3 10- and 11-strike put, with positions being opened at all three. The April 25 put is home to CCL's top front-month open interest position. 

While CCL got a lift last week, the equity is falling back towards its March 18 all-time low of $7.90, with its rally quickly snuffed out by the 20-day moving average. Carnival's decision to extend the pause of its North American operations to May 11 isn't helping matters. At last check, CCL is down 10.8% to trade at $12.82, bringing its year-to-date deficit to 74.6%. 

CCL Chart March 30


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